Changes afoot on venues for tennis

LONDON • Tennis chiefs plan to adopt the National Football League (NFL)'s Super Bowl model, by selecting fixed-venue cities in advance for their showcase Davis and Fed Cup finals.

The switch away from one of the finalists hosting the decider is part of a strategy to develop the men's and women's international team events.

"This is all part of our mission to make the appeal of tennis broad and wide," International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty said.

Other options under consideration include formats to reduce the length of matches, and expanding the top-tier Fed Cup competition to feature 16 nations.

Haggerty, elected president a year ago, hopes to have the new hosting system in place by 2018.

In American football's Super Bowl, the host city is usually selected three to five years before the game.

Similarly, European football's governing body, Uefa, selects the host city for the Champions League final two years in advance.

Haggerty said he hoped to see cities, federations and their sponsors come together to bid for 2018.

"The most likely scenario would be for two- to three-year terms," said the American.

"Right now we know who are in the finals but we don't know where it is going to be (held)."

Croatia will host Argentina for this year's Davis Cup title after the teams won their respective semi-finals last weekend. But a host city has yet to be named.

"It is really hard to plan and get viewers and fans excited," Haggerty said of the current format. "We can make this into a much more massive win for tennis."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'Changes afoot on venues for tennis'. Print Edition | Subscribe